March 28, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra
I’ve remarked before about how it seems to me that fewer and fewer kid-friendly entertainment is being created offline, or even off-screen. I suppose mine was the first generation that, as children, was exposed to digital entertainment as an alternative to outdoor fun and frolic. I wonder, now, how long it will be before recess is relegated entirely to the computer lab and the playground is rendered nothing more than a monument to times when the ancestors engaged in frenzied, primitive games of Cops & Robbers, Tag and Hide & Seek. The blame for the movement indoors isn’t solely on the shoulders of computers and TV. Parks and playgrounds have simply failed to keep pace. Even a child’s mind runs out of new things to do with a swing set, and there are only so many trips you can take down a hot, metal slide in your shorts before you want to move on. Today’s project is bringing new visions of outdoor play-spaces in the heart of Brooklyn, NY.
Brooklyn Utopias Park Space/Play Space is an exhibit of 19 artists and designers with visions of playgrounds fit for the fast-moving, attention-deficient world. Addressing issues beyond mere child’s play, the creators are exploring the issues surrounding the creation or expansion of parks in the city, and the importance of these spaces as places for physical and creative activity the generations to come.
Projects in all media include abstract “utopian” maps, visions of imaginary play spaces, a virtual park smartphone app (see above image), text-based public art and photographs and views of Brooklyn’s hidden natural environments. Temporary outdoor games, art workshops and performances will further engage viewers in a dialogue around public space.
For years, Brooklyn Utopias has been bringing together designers and architects to must about the perfect place to live, work and now, to play. There’s no single vision that could satisfy the dreams of everyone, but that’s the beauty of this collaboration; with as many dreams as are being showcased here, ideas will surely connect, fuse and spring anew in the minds of city dwellers and city planners. Now, with a focus on creativity and fun, Brooklyn Utopias is exploring the most playful elements of the best place we can make for ourselves. Check out the exhibit online or in person, and back this project on Kickstarter before April 4.